BJP’s stock grows in Tamil Nadu as AIADMK loses ground | Latest News India

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to win any seat in Tamil Nadu in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, it has managed a vote share of 11.3% on its own. Does this mean that it has found a foothold as a third force in the state’s politics? Here are two charts that answer this question.

The BJP has received 11 3 vote share its highest 1717702696516
The BJP has received 11.3% vote share, its highest in any Lok Sabha election in Tamil Nadu. (PTI)

While the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) led alliance has won all 39 parliamentary constituencies (PCs) in the state this time, its vote share has seen a 5.6 percentage point fall compared to 2019. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) led alliance’s vote share has fallen by 7.7 percentage points between 2019 and 2024. Because, the BJP contested as part of the AIADMK alliance in 2019, its vote share comparison cannot be done in a straightforward manner. (See Chart 1)

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What about the BJP’s performance on a more long-term basis? The BJP has received 11.3% vote share, its highest in any Lok Sabha election in Tamil Nadu. To be sure, part of the increase could be just a function of the BJP contesting more seats this time. The last time the BJP contested more seats than the 23 it contested in these elections was in 1996 when it put up candidates on 37 PCs. The only other times the party contested seats in double digits in Tamil Nadu was in the 1991 Lok Sabha election, when it contested 15 PCs; and in 2009, when it contested 18. Is contesting a higher number of seats the only reason for the rise in BJP’s vote share? Not necessarily.

(HT graphics)
(HT graphics)

BJP’s contested vote share of 19.6% in 2024 is higher than what this number has been in most previous elections. The only time the BJP’s contested vote share was higher was in years when it contested 5-9 seats, which could be a result of either an alliance with a larger party or confining itself to relative strongholds in the state. A growth in BJP’s contested vote share while contesting a majority of seats in the state in these elections suggests that at least a part of the BJP’s growth in the state is driven by an increase in its popular footprint. Except in 2014, the BJP had an alliance with either the DMK or the AIADMK in all five elections where its contested vote share was higher than in 2024 (1998, 1999, 2004, 2014, and 2019). Even in 2014, the BJP contested only nine PCs. (See Chart 2)

At whose cost has the BJP made these gains?

Answering this question is not straightforward. A party’s vote share in even a PC it contests may not be completely its own when in alliance. However, assuming that the BJP was the main contributor in its camp in 2024, a PC-level analysis can offer some insights. Of the 23 PCs the BJP contested, the DMK alliance has lost vote share in 21 PCs compared to 2019, the AIADMK alliance in 19, and the non-DMK/AIADMK/BJP aligned parties in 18. As these numbers show, all three groups — the DMK group, the AIADMK group, and the parties not aligned to them or the BJP – have lost votes across most PCs the BJP contested.

Who was the biggest loser in each PC? The AIADMK alliance is the biggest loser in 11, the DMK alliance in six, and the non-aligned parties in the remaining six. To be sure, the BJP contested three of the 23 PCs (Kanniyakumari, Coimbatore, and Sivaganga) as part of the AIADMK alliance in 2019. The AIADMK alliance has not matched BJP’s 2019 vote share in any of three PCs in 2024 and it is significantly behind the BJP in Kanniyakumari and Coimbatore. This shows that at least the latter two PCs have seen a bigger traction for the BJP. The AIADMK group losing more vote share in even other PCs than the DMK group suggests that the BJP is gaining more at the cost of AIADMK than other parties in the state. This appears largely in line with the perceived trend of the BJP leading the charge against the DMK.

The only question which remains to be answered is whether the BJP will be able to retain this momentum when assembly elections are held in 2026. After all, the AIADMK is still a larger opposition party than the BJP in the state, and its claim of being the principle challenger to the DMK led government will likely carry more weight.

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